Fahrenheit 9/11 and Nudent’s 9/11

Michael Moore’s documentary style is somewhat “unorthodox” in some respects, the exposure of his idea of the truth in his films convey them in a comedic manner. In Fahrenheit 9/11 Moore forms humour from what most people consider to be controversial topics. This is a particular characteristic of Moore’s films as he notches the seriousness of the topic to a level where the public can laugh at it. This is hard when you’re dealing with subject matter like the 9/11 attacks or US gun laws but Moore somehow expresses the social situation in a manner which isn’t greatly controversial, he takes away both arguments from the extreme to the tame, and conveys his “version of reality”
Moore can be seen as a conspiratorial as Fahrenheit sticks to a story where Bush is presented as corrupt, lacking in skill and plainly idiotic. In my opinion this isn’t the typical American’s idea of the reasoning behind 9/11 as the average citizen wouldn’t generalize the attacks as a government conspiracy. Moore as the films narrator uses timing and visual aid to appeal to the audience as his ideas could be disregarded by the audience for being so far-fetched.
Moore’s work could be described as serio-comic mostly due to the subject matter in his films and partially because of his ideas towards those topics. In my opinion any film about 9/11 that isn’t sombre isn’t considered to be in key with most documentary’s which don’t talk about controversial ideas like conspiracy’s and corruption. This differs in Fahrenheit, Moore pitches the idea of the attacks being a Bush plot, mentioning the idea that Bush corrupted the electoral votes against Al Gore and how the Bush family were best friends with the Bin Laden’s, all while being presented in a comical manner. Moore presents his ideas in a way where the audience is would be foolish not to believe the ideas he’s putting down as he shows it in a very clear-cut way, the way he links the points together displaces all of the facts that would otherwise disprove his ideas, this also links to the concerns people have with Moore’s work.
Moore uses particular techniques to satirise his subject matter, an example I can use is in Fahrenheit, when Moore is talking about Bush’s time during his presidency the music accompanying the footage almost mocks Bush. He’s shown to fumble his words and this with the country music reinforces and exaggerates Bush’s stereotype of being a “Hillbilly” and undermines his authority as an (ex) president which benefits his opinions of Bush.
Some people may question Moore’s approach to his films, as his films tend to be incredibly controversial, going back on his ideas of government conspiracy’s Moore’s general perception of his work can be seen as anti-patriotic as most of his films tend to mock serious ideas or events that have happened in American history.

Concerns about his film ethics can be agreed with due to the fact his portrayal of his ideas are quite biased towards his ideas only, and doesn’t truly display the whole situation. He tells the truth in a way that presents his truth in a favourable way by interviewing people who agree with his perception of the truth. Although he doesn’t state his ideas for a fact, he presents them to the audience and leaves them to think for themselves. Fahrenheit only displays Moore’s perception of the truth and doesn’t represent the genre of documentary faithfully.
Fahrenheit to me is Moore’s observation of the truth, people can take what they want from it but I think it’s wrong to deliver such information almost as fact and display it in such a way where his opinions might as well be said outright. People could argue his film is bordering on treasonous as he portrays the president of that time as being part of a massive conspiracy. The film has made me aware of the fact that some parts of 9/11 can be seen as suspect but it doesn’t make me believe that 9/11 was a huge conspiracy and that the government organized the attacks to create fear in the public that Bush could use to extend his presidency.

Fahrenheit gives an interesting insight to Moore’s ideas but I don’t take them too seriously.
Nudent’s 9/11 differs from Fahrenheit, in the way that the overall theme is quite sombre and sticks to the stereotype of 9/11 documentary’s. It hasn’t got an idea, concept or hidden agenda behind it and it doesn’t want to convey a message to the audience, the film stands for what it shows and portrays the point of view of the fire fighters who were dealing with the attacks. Nudent’s film uses relatively “raw” unedited footage where Fahrenheit’s footage would have been meticulously edited to reinforce the point Moore was trying to give. The fact the footage is left as it is, is again due to the point of the film. Nothing special has to be done to the footage to show what the brothers want to convey, they want to show their truth without it being altered by bias or preference. This is the ultimate difference between the Nudent’s and Moore’s film.

Narration in 9/11 is done by the brothers and a handful of the fire-fighters themselves, the prologue is carried out by the fire marshal of the station the brothers are filming in which gives the narrator a sense of authority, much like the same sense you would get from a nature documentary with a figure like Attenborough narrating. The authority gives the narration some credibility as the people talking are experts, they’ve experienced 9/11 and they aren’t talking about it from an outside perspective, they are all talking from their experience as fire fighters and as fire fighters who had worked through the hardships of 9/11. This to me personally adds credibility to the film as there would be no-one better than those fire fighters that could give me a better case study of what happened in those towers.

9/11 seems to be a truthful insight to the experiences and events that had happened on that day. It gives a different type of appeal as it shows what happened, not why and how. It doesn’t put reason behind the attacks; it just shows the viewer what and when it happened. 9/11 is unaffected by preference and bias where Fahrenheit seems to be driven by it. The two aren’t comparable as truthful reflections as only one is but they can be compared to a stereotypical idea of a documentary and Nudent’s 9/11 seems to feature the typical characteristics of that stereotype. Where Moore’s Fahrenheit seems to break every ethic that a typical expository documentary would stick to.

Alex Lee


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